The shirt worn by Diego Maradona when he scored two unforgettable goals to knock England out of the 1986 World Cup, including the so-called ‘Hand Of God’, is set to fetch more than £4million at auction.
Maradona – one of the greatest footballers of all time, who died in November 2020 at the age of 60 – described his opening goal in the quarter-final tie, where the ball clearly hit the leaping Argentinian’s left arm before nestling in the net, as “a little with the head of Maradona, and a little with the hand of God”.
He then scored what was voted “goal of the century” when he dribbled past a host of England players before netting as Argentina sealed a 2-1 win in Mexico City en route to winning the tournament.
Midfielder Steve Hodge, who had unintentionally flicked the ball to Maradona in the ‘Hand of God’ play, swapped shirts with his rival in the tunnel after the game and has owned it ever since – although the item has spent the last 20 years on loan at the National Football Museum in Manchester.
It will now go under the hammer at Sotheby’s in a dedicated sale open for bidding from April 20, and will go on public view at the auction house’s New Bond Street gallery in London.
Sotheby’s describes the famous blue number 10 jersey on its website as in “good overall condition consistent with heavy use, perspiration and athletic activity” with “slight de-threading on hemming on the front bottom of shirt, and minor spots throughout”.
Hodge said: “I have been the proud owner of this item for over 35 years, since Diego and I swapped shirts in the tunnel after the famed match.
“It was an absolute privilege to have played against one of the greatest and most magnificent football players of all time. It has also been a pleasure to share it with the public over the last 20 years at the National Football Museum, where it has been on display.
“The ‘Hand of God’ shirt has deep cultural meaning to the football world, the people of Argentina, and the people of England, and I’m certain that the new owner will have immense pride in owning the world’s most iconic football shirt.”
The game came four years after the UK had defeated Argentina in the Falklands War and took on greater significance for both countries as a result.
Brahm Wachter, head of streetwear and modern collectables at Sotheby’s, said: “The ‘Hand of God’ is truly a singular moment, not only in the history of sports, but in the history of the 20th century.
“The moment resonated far beyond the world of football, coming soon after the Falklands conflict, and has in turn inspired books, films and documentaries.
“Maradona is now remembered as one of the greatest to ever play the game of football – and this particular game is an instrumental part of his legacy.”
He added: “It is the first time the shirt has ever been brought to market, and Sotheby’s is honoured to be a part of the item’s history now.”
The current record for any shirt worn during a game is held by a baseball jersey worn by New York Yankees star Babe Ruth, which sold for US dollars 5.6million in an auction in 2019.
– The Sotheby’s auction is open for bidding from April 20 to May 4.